If you follow Amanda (aka MissZippy), you probably read all about her experiences a couple months ago with MAF testing. I have to admit, I read about her experiences but didn’t really think something like that was for me. I’m not exactly an elite athlete but after posting about my last long run before I got hurt AGAIN, Amanda thought it might be something for me to try. So I went back and reread her posts and started to think about my situation.
On any given day, when I run, my heart rate usually sits at about 169 to 175. I always thought that was normal. Then I posted this picture on instagram and realized that I needed to get this figured out. I have big aspirations for next year that involve much more running (and swimming and biking) than I do now and having a good base is really important.
Oh, that’s the other thing….”having a really good base”. To be PERFECTLY honest..I never really understood what that meant. I just took it as, you run a lot. BUT, after looking into MAF training and talking to Amanda, which I did on a phone call about a week ago, I really understand what that means. Turns out it’s as much about quality as it is about quantity. (Thanks Amanda, it was great talking to you in person!!!)
So what is MAF training? It’s essentially heart rate training. You’re training your heart to stay aerobic longer, meaning you burn fat for energy not sugar or other short term energy supplies. By doing that, you keep your heart rate lower longer, an added side benefit is that you lose the fat that your body has been storing. (I knew there was another reason to like it).
This is heart rate training at its best. The goal is to keep your heart rate at or below the MAF range (180-Your Age = MAF Range). You can add a few BPM based on your fitness level but I tried to keep it true to MAF.
I’ve realized this is a perfect time to give it a try for a number of reasons (can you tell I’m a program manager, lists for everything):
- Offseason: I thought with it being the off season now, this was the perfect time to try it. My goal is to get somewhere between 15 and 20 miles in week using the MAF method.
- I Run Alone: Not that I’m a loner but I just never seem to have luck meeting up with people so MAF testing is great for those of us that run alone. No pressure that you’re slowing people down.
- Injury Prevention: This is a key one for me. My current injury is manageable if I don’t push too hard so this is the perfect type of running for me right now.
- Base Building: The more miles I can get in at a lower heart rate the better off I’ll be next year. I did my first run the other day and to say it’s humbling is an understatement of the worst kind. It’s actually kind of depressing.
Here’s my splits from my first 3 mile run:
October 28 – 13:28; 11: 52, 12:22 (I told you it was bad. I literally had to walk at some points just to get it down.)
I’ve run a few more times since and they haven’t been much better. Yesterdays wasn’t terrible:
11:01; 11:55; 11:12; 11:24
I’m going to retest again at the end of November to see if any progress has been made but either way, it’s teaching me how to listen to my body better. My Weekly Running Plan includes:
Have you ever done any heart rate training? What are your off season goals?
I also want to send a HUGE congrats to everyone that ran last weekend! Tons of amazing people accomplishing amazing goals!!
Don’t forget to register for your chance to win a tin of Birds & Bees Teas.